I am a firm believer in never saying no to free cash or gift cards when they are available for the grabbing, especially when traveling and funds are budgeted aggressively! If you are like me in that sense, and don’t mind a few detailed tasks then this post is for you! I have summarized and explained 5 apps that I have personally been using to earn cash and giftcards while traveling.

I have used the cash that I have earned from these apps to fund some of the following travel adventures: renting a surfboard in San Juan Del Sur, Nicaragua, buying pad thai and fresh smoothies in Chiang Mai, Thailand,  paying for an entrance to a salsa club in Buenos Aires, Argentina, and so many more! Start using these apps today and you can earn more cash towards your travel fund or even extra cash while you are traveling!

Swagbucks
Swagbucks is an App that you can download on your phone, as well as a website that you can use on your computer. This website is a great way to earn money by answering surveys (I once won a $100 giftcard to Starbucks for answering a survey!), watching videos, checking out webpages, taking polls, and buying your every day needs! So far, I have aggressively been using this app for the past couple months and I have earned $300 so far (that is equal to 30 nights at a hostel in Nicaragua!). I have earned points by having videos run on my cell phone while I am doing other things such as cooking or getting ready in the morning,  answer surveys that I am qualified for on various products such as food, travel, health, alcohol, and I even earn points when I use the site to book my travel needs through various websites! I have read several blogs, and spoke to many people in various Facebook groups and there are people out there that can make $10,000 a year using this site!

An example of what the survey portion of the app looks like

The site uses a point systems, much like many other apps, and every 100 points equals $1. I usually save up to 2,500 points and then transfer $25 to my Paypal account. The site also offers gift cards that you can purchase using the points as well, but I personally always prefer to receive cash!

My goal this year is to earn at least $25 a week, which at the end of the year will equal to at least $1,300. That equals to about four flights round trip to Cartagena, Colombia or 85 nights at a hostel in Argentina! It seems like only a little bit each week, but it does adds up at the end of it all!

If you are interested in earning extra money simply by having videos run on your phone and answering surveys, then click here to sign-up today! For those who are currently traveling abroad while using this app, I suggest that you invest in a VPN because it is a USA company and it is strict about international use. Just a little tip I have picked up while using it!

There are 5 swagbucks video apps you can download and use to watch videos for points.

Click here to start earning cash today, and by using this link you get 300SB just for signing up! If you do end up signing up, I would be happy to share with you additional tips I have learned along the way- just comment below!!

AchieveMint
This app is an extremely easy way to earn some extra cash without having to do anything you’re not already doing. All you have to do is download the app by clicking here, enroll and sign-up, and connect the other health apps that you are already using. I have been an avid user of MyFitnessPal for several years and so it was easy to start earning points immediately with the app! Each time that I log my food, exercise, or weight change I earn a certain number of points to the total amount. You can also earn points by taking surveys sent to your e-mail and inviting other friends to make money too! Once you reach 10,000 points, then you redeem it for $10 (That is 20 Pad Thai meals in Thailand!)


Click this link to start earning money for being healthy today! You can start by downloading the app on your phone, or signing up on your computer!


Checkout 51

I had installed this app on my phone a couple of years ago, and completely forgot about it until right before heading off into the road. This app is best used in the United States and may not show offers while abroad. The idea is simple. You do your normal grocery shopping. Buy your apples, grapes, favorite cereal, eggs, or whatever and you save your receipt. I repeat. Save your receipt! Once you get home (or even before you head to the store), you can open the app and check out what offers you can get money back on. I usually always have at least one produce item that I can get money back on each week.

All you have to do is choose the items that you wish to redeem for cash, and then you take a picture of your receipt, and submit it! I would recommend that you keep the receipt until you receive the success e-mail from the company in your e-mail or push notification. Once you reach $20, you can request a pay-out and a check will be sent in the mail.

Easy! All you do is take a picture of your receipt and click the items you want to redeem!

Click here to sign-up today and download the app!

Ibotta
This app is similar to Checkout51, but there are so many more items you can receive cash back on! You can receive cash back on items bought at stores such as Stop and Shop, Best Buy, Target, and even the Dollar Store! There are over 50 stores and 20 categories that you can search through to receive cash back. Download the app by clicking here and start today!

This is an example of a few of the many grocery stores that offer rebates.

Once you have the app download, all you have to do is search by category or store, and click the items that you have purchased and want to receive cash back for. Once you choose to submit your receipt, you will have to upload a photo of the original receipt, click the items, and at times you will also have to scan the bar code of certain items that you have purchased. For example, if you are redeeming cash for an apple there will be no bar code to scan, but if you purchased Chobani yogurt you will need to scan it.

They offer items that you actually buy each week!

This is a must have app if you do any shop at all. If you don’t use this app, you are actually throwing money away! For example, just this last week I bought Pop Chips at PriceRite for $1.50. The app offered $3.50 for redeeming the coupon on it’s app. I received a free bag of chips and $2! No way I can say no to free money!

Once you have reached $20 you can redeem the cash via PayPal or Venmo or even choose among the many gift cards that they offer as well!

Click here to download the app or register on your home computer and start getting cash back today!

Shopkick
Shopkick is such an easy app! All you have to do is download the app here, turn on your geolocater, and you are ready to go! The concept of the app is simple. You accumulate a certain amount of kicks (ex: 2,500 kicks equals $10 gift card) by walking into certain stores, scanning products in a store, or having the cashier scan the bar code in the app when you purchase items at certain stores. I earned 50 kicks just for walking into BestBuy!

Example of some of the stores that participate

Imagine you are in a shopping area that has several stores in the app, you can earn 1,000 kicks easy each day! The kicks can be redeemed each day (ex: walk into Best Buy everyday for one week and you receive 350 Kicks). If you do that for a little under a month, you have earned yourself a free gift card to a select amount of stores!

These are some of the gift cards you can redeem your kicks for!

Download the app here and start earning money for simply doing things you are already doing: walking and shopping! You’d be a fool not to accept free money!

I hope these apps are as helpful as they have been for me! If it’s free money, why not take the few minutes or even seconds to complete a simple task and get that cash! Happy Travels everyone and comment below if you have any questions or comments below in regards to any of the apps! Click on the sign-up links below and start earning that travel cash!

Swagbucks
Checkout-51
Achievemint
Ibotta
Shopkick

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Drinks at a rooftop bar in Bangkok, Thailand paid for by Swagbucks!

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Path of Gods- Almafi Coast, Italy

The Path of Gods Hike was such a breathtaking experience that I did not expect when traveling to Italy. I found out about the hike from another traveler and from the moment I began the hike I was in awe. The entire hike is along the Almafi Coast so you have views of the ocean and several of the towns along the coast. I suggest you make sure to take breaks throughout the hike so that you can just stop and enjoy the view. At the end of the hike make sure you take a dip in the ocean to cool off from the heat!

 

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Breathtaking views

No wonder people flock to the Amalfi Coast. I’m in love with this view!    

Tongariro Alpine Crossing- Tongariro, New Zealand

This is one of the most unique hikes I have ever experienced around the world! The hike lasts between 8 to 10 hours and throughout it you will experience all four seasons. Wear layers! You can check out a full description of the hike here.

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Feeling zen in front of Mt. Doom

This is a hike of all seasons. Be prepared for the wind!

Look at these views of the volanoes!

The colors of the Emerald lakes in this hike are beyond any thing I could have imagined.

El Chalten, Argentina 

El Chalten is a town made for hikers! There are several hikes that can be completed from this town, including the Famous Fitz Roy hike that many hikers dream of completing. My particular favorite was a small hike to a waterfall, but to be fair instead of walking there I rented a bike to get there. It is still a must see location! Pack a lunch, bring a journal or book, and spend the afternoon mesmerized by the waterfall!

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Everywhere you look in this town you are surrounded by snow covered mountain peaks while the sun beats on your back. HEAVEN!

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My favorite spot in the world.

Dois Irmãos- Two Brothers Moutains- Rio de Janeiro, Brazil 

This hike is the more lesser known hikes within Rio de Janeiro. The more popular hike is at Sugar Loaf, but you have to pay a hefty price to hike it and it is usually packed with tourists. If you head to the other side of the city, opposite of Sugar Loaf, than you can experience a lesser known hike that costs nothing to enter, and provides you a unique view of Rio de Janeiro!

Views of favalas at the beginning of the hike

Most of the hike you can barely see the views. With each step around a corner, a view or Rio is a pleasant surprise.

View of the non-touristy side of Rio.

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Enjoying the views of RIo

Iconic Rio de Jainero.

The sun was so hot we could only stand to be there a few minutes before heading down! I could feel myself getting burnt!

Pacaya Volcano- Antigua, Guatemala

This was the hardest hike for me personally, due to the elevation of the volcano. In this hike you leave early in the morning, hike between 4 to 8 hours in the day depending on how fast your group is, and camp on top of the volcano. At 4:30am the next morning, you hike up about another hour to the top of the volcano so you can see the sunrise and Acatenango Volcano erupting. I personally had a hard time with this hike and spent the evening vomiting out of my tent, but for the few moments I was able to look up and see the lava spurting from the Volcano it was beautiful.

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View of Acatenango Volcano from the camping site

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You are literally hiking above the clouds!

These are my top five favorite hikes around the word that I have completed so far, but I am sure as I travel more and more I will add a ton more to it! What are some of your favorite hikes? Comment below with any suggestions of hikes anywhere in the world you have for me!

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  1. Bring an empty water bottle with you to the airport and fill it up from the drinking fountain inside the airport for free. This will save you on paying the outrageous prices at the airport.

    Atlanta, GA airport water fountain- so convenient!

  2. If you are someone that enjoys a cocktail during a flight but hate paying $5-7 for one then this tip is for you. Pick up a nip or two (less than 3oz) from the liquor store of your desired alcohol and pack it in your carry-on luggage. When the flight attended asks what you would like to drink, order a mixing component (coke, sprite, juice, etc.), mix it up and wallah you saved yourself a few bucks and got a nice drink (or two) for the flight. Don’t worry when you go thru security, this is all allowed as long as it is less than 3oz.
  3. This on may be obvious, but I have seen so many travelers fall into this trap. Make sure that when you book a flight that you read all the directions associated with your ticket before you get to the airport. For example, Spirit airlines asks that you print our your boarding pass at home, otherwise when you arrive at the ticket counter you have to shell out $10 for them to print it out for you. They also ask that you specify what luggage you will bring on the flight when you purchase the ticket online (checking luggage or carry-on ). If you wait until you get to the ticket counter you’ll be paying about $100. Save some money so you can splurge when you get to your destination and read the directions beforehand and follow them!
  4. Pack snacks. This one if for all modes of transportation whether it be boat, plane, or bus. Airports allow you to take food on the flight. No where does it say that you can’t; however there have been so many times I have pulled out a homemade sandwich from home and the passenger beside me asks how I got it past security. Save yourself the money and pack food with you, your stomach and wallet will thank you! I usually pack nuts, chips, a piece of fruit, and a sandwich (all depending on how long the flight or bus ride will be).
  5. Join a miles program. Don’t wait- do it the moment when you book your ticket. With our past miles we were able to get two free tickets from Kansas to Florida at the very start of our round the world trip, which saved us about $800.
  6. When you are initially looking for flights online, make sure you delete your cookies after each search. The internet remembers past searches; just take a look at the Ads that pop up on various websites (ex: facebook)- this is not a coincidence. Each time that you search for a flight and you have not deleted your cookies then the search will yield all the same prices as your last search or most of the time it will come up with something much higher.
  7. Download the Hopper App. If you know that you will be going to a certain location on a certain date or month (Ex: Rome in April) then you can create an alert on the hopper app to send you a notification when is the best time to buy. Once you see a low price, head over to the website and purchase the ticket! This helps with not having to look up flights constantly, definitely a time saver!
  8. Buy your airline tickets on a Tuesday I have tested this theory time and time again and flights are always cheaper when you buy them on a Tuesday. Whether it be $10 or $100, a savings is a savings and that is why I always buy my tickets on a Tuesday when I can. There’s also a rumor that it’s cheaper to also fly on a Tuesday, but I haven’t tested that theory yet.
  9. Ask for upgrades, extras, and discounts. The people that work for the airline companies are people just like you and can go out of their way for you, but you have to ask. I always say that it is better to ask then to never know at all. Anytime I am about to check-out in a store, I usually ask the cashier if they have any coupons or discounts and the majority of the time they give them to me! Ask and you shall receive.
  10. Be Kind. This is coupled with the advice from above because usually in this world if you are not kind to others, they are more unwilling to give anything to you for free. Be kind to those who work for the airlines as they have to do a lot for the passengers on the plane. Be kind and good things may come to you

Happy Travels!

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I am head over heels in LOVE with Thailand. Thailand has all of my favorite things: beaches, elephants, and delicious and cheap FOOD. I love FOOD and it is a scientific fact that it tastes better when its a great deal (okay that’s just my personal opinion haha). Thailand in general is a CHEAP destination to head to, but if you are in Bangkok for a few days and really looking for the best places to find the cheap eats, I suggest you try Pier 21 Food Court, local street food, Chinatown, and the floating Markets. You won’t be disappointed and your wallet will thank you!

Pier 21 Food Court

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Pier 21 Bangkok. Look for this sign when you get to the mall!

Pier 21 is located inside the mall Terminal 21. I know I know, you must be thinking to yourself, why is this chick recommending me to go to a food court when I am in Thailand?! Trust me, you will not be disappointed! This is where you will be able to see where the people of Bangkok go to eat. If you head over during lunch time you will see swarms of students laughing together, men and women dressed in business attire, and the few families who are controlling their children from throwing noodles around. This is the place to eat during lunch time in Bangkok. Once you get to the food court, its simple. You head to the card counter and you give an allotted amount to the women working at the counter, which they will then put on a card for you. I recommend putting between 50-100 Baht to start with, but no matter the amount you will be able to get the money you did not use returned to you at the end.

Once you have your card in hand, I would recommend walking around the food court several times before making a decision because there are a lot of stalls to choose from! Once you have set your eyes on what you want to eat, all you have to do is tell them the name and hand over your card. The workers at each station will subtract the amount and give it back to you. Don’t be surprised when you end up spending less than $2 for your entire meal- it can be done! Once you have stuffed yourself silly, don’t forget to return to the card counter to get your unused amount back in cash! I would also recommend walking around the mall after you have had your meal as it is one of the most impressive malls I have ever seen! The mall is set-up like an airport. Each floor is labeled as a different destination (Paris, Amsterdam, Istanbul, etc.); even the security guards are dressed up as pilots! Oh, and just a little insider tip- make sure you check out the bathrooms at this mall; they are one of the most hi-tech toilets I have ever seen!!

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So many mangos for sticky rice! Look at those prices, all less than $1!

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This is what you can expect: rows and rows of options!!

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This entire meal was less than $2. Fresh fruit smoothie and pad thai wrapped in a fried egg.. YUM!

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Yum Yum and more Yum.

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So good!

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These mixed fruit smoothies were only 20 Baht- that’s 58 cents!

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This mall is crazy! They have a huge model of the San Francisco bridge smack dab in the middle of it all!

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Mmmmmmm!!!!

Floating Market

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Floating Markets are a goldmine for cheap and delicious food! In Bangkok there are five floating markets, however we were able to just enjoy one: Khlong Lat Mayom. We chose this market because it was a little less touristy, more off the beaten path, and a lot of blogs that I read previously stated that not many tourists make it out there so if you do go you’ll be among the locals. This was 100% true! We probably only saw one other small group of tourists in all of this area.

We took a cab out to the market, which did not cost too much and began our way through the maze of stalls. When you first step into the market you are hit with such powerful smells that you will want to consume everything you see, trust me! I was at first so overwhelmed with all of the food and how cheap it was that I had to take a few laps around the stalls to decide what I wanted to eat. You can find anything from the traditional Pad Thai and sticky rice to some of the not so popular items that I have posted some photos of below. Once you have stuffed your belly full of delicious Thai food, hop onto one of the small boat tours for just 20 Baht (that’s 58 cents!) and see the local area. It’s amazing!

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This is some sort of fried fish- it was of course, delicious.

Pad Thai wrapped in a fried egg. One of my favorite things in Thailand!!

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Phad Thai wrapped in a fried egg for less than $1. Yummmm!!!

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These are literally just frozen sodas in the form of popsicles: 5 Baht each!

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I was utterly obsessed with the coke ones- I may have had three by the time I left the market- don’t judge!

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Look at that fresh shrimp!

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Fried Spring Rolls…less than $1. So delicious!!!

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Do I like this? Was it worth my 20 Baht? Hmmm…I think I do.

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I don’t remember the name of this, but obviously it was delicious. Everything in this market was beyond wonderful.

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Fresh coconut anyone? This guy will machete one open right in front of you!

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Only at the floating market can you buy a meal from a boat….

Chinatown 

In most large cities, there is usually a Chinatown where you can buy cheap goods and the obvious Chinese food, but if you head over to the Chinatown in Bangkok you will have a world of cheap food at your disposal. I recommend that you skip the standard restaurants that have menus, bright lights, and air conditioning and instead grab one of the tables in the streets and order away! Usually these “restaurants” cook right on the street and have a limited menu. We went to one that served mainly seafood options and between four of us we spent less than $15 for beers, two servings of a large fish, soup and rice. It was  a steal for four people and the food was amazing!

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This fish was huge….and partly already consumed by the time I remembered to take a picture (haha).

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Chinatown in Bangkok: Where else can you sip some beers and chow on seafood while a cab driver tries to butt into traffic right behind you?

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Seafood Soup.

Street Food

Street food is usually one of the cheapest ways to eat in most cities, and Bangkok does not disappoint! The street food in Bangkok (and most of Thailand) varies from noodles to fresh fruit smoothies to fresh squeezed juices to meat on a a stick to ice cream! You can find anything  your stomach may be craving while you are walking the streets of Thailand. My absolute favorite find was the ice cream stand that was serving up delicious vanilla goodness in a coconut! My taste buds were in HEAVEN.

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Fresh ice cream in a coconut shell topped with chocolate and peanuts. Where has this been my whole life?!

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One of the best things I had in Thailand!

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So delicious! This ice cream made my day after walking around in the hot sun!

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Found these while walking down the street and just had to try them!

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I can’t remember exactly what these were, but they were made up of something fried and covered in a sauce. Regardless, it was mouth watering!

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Panang Curry from a street vendor. I ended up eating only a few bites because I asked the vendor to add more curry powder. I regretted it immediately HAHA.


Happy eating!!!

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Melbourne was one of the more expensive cities that we spent time in and with each of the dorm beds being $25 a night, we had to be frugal in our spending during the day. When we were not cooking up a storm in the hostel kitchen, we set out to the streets of Melbourne to see what free activities were available for us to indulge in. As budget backpackers we always make it a point to check out the free events in each city before we even thinkt of paying for something. Melbourne was one of our more favorable cities due to the variety of cultural events, museums, beaches, food, and creativity that the city had to offer. Every street that we walked down was a new venture towards a cultural and artistic site. Spend a day getting lost in the city and you are bound to find so much public art and artistic performances all over the city. We hope these events and tips that we were able to experience will help you in your trip to Melbourne, Australia!

Monday night comedy at Spleen Bar

Every monday night at 8:30pm there is a free comedy show at the local bar Spleen with various comedic artists that hit the stage each week. When we went there were comedy artist that used flip boards, guitars, audience participation, and other various props. The show lasts about 90 minutes and beers vary form $5-11. It’s a great place to catch some laughs and check out Aussie humor!

Franklin Square

Franklin Square is the perfect place to find some alone time in the middle of this bustling city. I know I know, its smack dab in the middle of the city, how can you get any alone time here?! Trust me, I spent several days in this spot and was able to get a lot done! Grab a coffee, bring your journal or book and spend some time in this square soaking up the sun. There are Ted talks on the big screen, events advertised each week, and plenty of people for people watching!

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Queen Victoria Market

This popular market is open during the week every day, except Monday and Wednesday, until 3:00pm and until 5:00pm on the weekends. This is the cheapest place you can go to purchase local fruits, vegetables, meats, seafood, and grains! We stopped by the market on a Sunday, which in my opinion is the best day to go due to larger crowd, live music, and street vendors that are there. We spent a Sunday afternoon sampling foods from around the world, listening to acoustic performers, and taking in the atmosphere of it all. This is a must see if you are in Melbourne- come hungry!

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Queen Victoria Market

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I am now a HUGE fan of Sri Lankan food! A must try if you stop by the market on Sundays!

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We tried Sri Lankan food for the first time- the devils chicken was DELICIOUS!

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Acoustic performers signing a few Spanish songs

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There is an entire food stand dedicated to mussels- a must try!

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Sundays at Queen Victoria Market!

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Fresh squeezed lemonade was a great addition to our meal. Yummy!

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Fresh Turkish coffee anyone?

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So much beautiful produce!


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Free Walking Tour

When arriving to a new city, we always try to hit up any free walking tours that are available. It helps with hitting the main sites, getting a sense of direction in the city, and provides so much history and general information that you wouldn’t get without doing it! This four hour walking tour will take you all around Melbourne City Center with some fascinating stories, great views, and tips for the best bars and food around town! You can check out more information about the tour here.

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The tour ends with a beautiful look out of the city and the perfect spot to stay and watch the sunset!

Museums

There are several museums in the Franklin Square that you can go to for free. One of the most interesting ones that we were able to go to was the Australian Center for the Moving Image (ACMI). When we were there in April there was an entire exhibit dedicated to the evolution of film and TV. It was a fascinating display that started from the very beginning of moving image all the way up to today. The exhibit features a lot of interactive exhibits. I would suggest to put aside two hours of your day if you plan to see each interactive aspect of this exhibit.

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ACMI: Australian Center for the Moving Image

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Aboriginal art

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This artists has an entire exhibition at ACMI of the Melbourne skyline. One of my favorite exhibitions yet!

Batman Night Market

The Batman Night Market is a short 15 minute tram ride outside of the city and is definitely not a tourist spot.  The night market is held every Saturday from 4:00-9:00pm and is located 14-22 Gaffney Street. At this market you will find street vendors from all over the world, live music, and local artists selling their crafts. I would recommend grabbing some grub from one of the local vendors, a local beer from the bar, and enjoy the live music that is offered. When we were there in April there was a live band playing Spanish music and one of the artists was from La Paz! You can check out the market’s website: here

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Delicious food from the Kathmandu Street Food vendor.

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Batman Night Market Flyer

St. Kilda and Brighton Beach

There are two beaches in the Melbourne area that many of the locals go to. St. Kilda is a busy beach area that is about a 15 minute tram ride from the center of the city. The beach is situated along a pier with bars, restaurants, and shops. The pier near it is a popular spot to watch the sunset and catch a view of a penguin or two! Brighton beach is popular for it’s iconic colorful beach houses that are situated in a row alongside the water. In order to get to Brighton you will need to take a train from Flinders Station. I would recommend that you bring your own sandwiches and snacks because there are not many places to purchase lunch from!

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Hanging out on St. Kilda Beach

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Sunset at St. Kilda beach

Bringham Beach

Bringham Beach

Beautiful sunny day at Bringham Beach.

Happy Travels!!

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